Executive Director of Business Development Draws Membership Together
Trish Connor has developed a holistic perspective in regards to technology and has brought a wide range of experiences into her new role as Executive Director of Edge’s Business Development, one she began in July 2019.
Connor’s wealth of knowledge has been gained by working in higher education and the K-12 environments, as well as with state and local agencies, making her an ideal individual for providing leadership in this capacity.
“I have been in the space for quite a while, and I think one of the benefits of having worked with a full spectrum of organizations is I have gained a holistic view of technology, which can really make an impact with our membership as Edge continues to grow,” Connor said.
The extensive career background provides perspective for Connor when she’s looking at which best practice applies better for one industry over another. Another benefit is her formal training and educational degrees in social work and counseling.
“Throughout my career, one of my professional tenets has always been to provide the best solution for my clients and customers,” Connor said. “I’ve always wanted to focus on a client-forward approach wherever I was, and now, I’m very excited to join an organization whose goal is to make an impact—this perspective is what drew me to Edge.”
She feels the benefits of working for an organization like Edge is crucial for her own life path, especially after spending time working in for-profit sectors.
“The profit world is always spending time worried about their bottom line, while for me, my focus has always been a commitment to the client. At Edge, the membership is going to be my top priority,” Connor said. “I plan to build a strategy for growth that is truly client centric.”
In her role as Executive Director of Business Development, Connor will place a special emphasis on relationship development in all facets of Edge’s current membership make-up, including those in Higher Education, K-12, Healthcare, Research, Libraries, and Local, County State and Government. Connor’s early goals include increasing member service and satisfaction levels to ensure members are fully aware of the many benefits, products, and solutions available to aid them in their overall success.
“Being in this role at Edge will allow me the opportunity to provide what’s best for the membership, as well as become the trusted advocate a member might really need,” she said. “My role will be uncovering ways to help members consider technology solutions that are going to address their particular needs.”
Fulfilling Edge’s Mission and Vision
A part of Connor’s role is to bring Edge’s mission to fruition by sharing with membership the non-profit consortium’s optimal technology solutions and services in regards to statewide advanced networking and insight and expertise in information technologies.
Because of Edge’s wide range of technology solutions, Connor looks at which services or tools provide the most value to the membership.
“Value means different things to different members,” she said. “I see my role as advancing the value of what Edge can bring to its overall membership and their specific goals and objectives.”
Connor and her team will methodically deconstruct needs and see where solutions make the most sense for each individual member. Some members may only be familiar with a tiny offering. For instance, Edge has clients who are only interested in the network, but this current state doesn’t prevent them from also finding value in other areas.
“A member may not fully realize the value of all of the services we provide,” she said.
For instance, over the past two years, EdgeMarket has experienced expansive growth. She said some members might not be aware of this robust solution set.
As Connor develops relationships with Edge members and learns their needs, she has the opportunity to share about offerings such as EdgeMarket or EdgeXchange—any number of technological solutions that could potentially ease the burden of member resources.
Since stepping into her role at Edge, Connor has spent considerable time learning which services and solutions are available to members. At the same time, she is also actively pursuing other tools on the marketplace. Edge desires to always have a wide selection of solutions, but is continuously aiming to grow the solution set, as needs in the world change.
“Some of the pain points out there are issues our members may be experiencing,” she said. “This dynamic is why we have kept current services, but we’re also open to talking with our membership about how we can expand innovative technological solutions to address their changing needs.”
These solutions also involve collaboration and tools like EdgeXchange where members have opportunities to work and learn together.
Meeting Edge Members
As Connor establishes herself in Edge’s Business Development function, one of her primary goals for this year is to provide as much direction for business development as possible. She is also enjoying meeting clients from around the state and surrounding regions.
“As a part of my role, I personally want to get out and meet each and every member as quickly as I possibly can,” she said. “So essentially, what I want them to know is I am available to them and I would love to hear from them.”
This goal is one reason why Connor is excited about the various events held every month, especially Edge’s yearly conference, EdgeCon, taking place on January 8-10. At these events, she is able to meet and develop relationships with 20-30+ people at a time.
“I have opportunities to interact with people one on one or with members in group capacities at some of our smaller meetings,” Connor said. “I want to build a collaborative partnership with our organization leaders and I really want to learn from them.”
The Edge events provide a forum for networking and collaborative connection between the Edge team, but also within the membership. Members get to connect with each other and share solutions. They get to ask peers for help, especially if a school or organization has already tried a particular tool or service.
The goal for many members is to discover new innovative thought and learning, which is often shared and strengthened amongst each other. The community offered through various events draws everyone together, especially when time and resources are often lacking.
“People in our industry don’t always have the time to network and by providing these events, the meetings give them a venue to connect with peers and to learn what’s going on in technology that’s pertinent on their campus or within their organization,” she explained. “These events for networking are often priceless.”
Along with Connor’s priority of meeting with members, she has developed a strategic plan of her own for business development. Her goal is to ensure the membership fully understands Edge’s offerings, while also discovering a client’s needs. She is looking for where a member may have gaps and fill them with solutions.
“Technology is a major priority, and the feedback I receive from our membership indicates which technologies are important to advance. Then, we ask how we can build those partner relationships that really benefit you,” she added.
Connor has also enjoyed getting to know the Edge team and has been impressed with the high level of collaboration within the organization, which she said isn’t always the case.
“Often times, where you have a lot of talented people, the group isn’t as collaborative as perhaps the Edge team,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to continuing this collaboration in support of the mission, which is essentially what everyone’s main priority is at Edge.”
For those who would like to connect with Connor, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.